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Introduction to DNA

Firstly, I must profess a very limited knowledge of genetics.  This an account is rudimentary, and is designed for beginners to the subject.  It may be that the account is not perfectly correct, but it is only intended to provide the reader with sufficient understanding to follow the results of the DNA tests. 

DNA is the material that carries the genetic code for all living organisms.  It is made up of 4 chemicals, generally abbreviated to A, C, G, and T.  These 4 chemicals are linked to form long chains, containing millions of these chemicals units in each chain (imagine it as an enormously long string).

A small part of these million or so units in a chain may be represented as below: 

---------A-C-G-T-A-C-G-A-T-G-C-T-A-G-C-T-A-G-C------

These DNA chains are arranged into the 46 chromosomes present in humans.  Every person has a different arrangement of the A, C, T, G chemicals in his/her chromosomes and thus has different inherited characteristics, even from his parents and siblings.

With the exception of the Y-chromosome. all the other chromosomes contain a blend of the the mothers DNA and the fathers DNA.  These chromosomes are different in every generation, since they are made by mixing the mother's  and father's DNA.

The Y- chromosome (male sex chromosome) is different.  It is only present in males and is therefore passed from father to son to grandson etc.  Since it does not include any DNA from the mother it passes down the generations unchanged (apart from minor mutations that occur about every 600 years).  Thus if two persons have the same DNA structure in the Y-chromosome then there is a chance that they have a common ancestor.  It is this Y-chromosome that is used in the tests below.  

 

 

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